One of the first areas the company turned to was packaging, with the philosophy for all packaging used in the company revolving round sound and sustainable design.
“Natura’s packaging development is based on ecodesign concepts, which were translated into a Book of Packaging Development Principles,” said Alves.
“Among the principles are: reduce (quantity of material), reuse, refill, use of renewable and/or post consume raw materials, design for disassembly to enable recycling and optimize logistics and transportation.”
Keeping both packaging and ingredients green
The company also follows specific regulatory criteria that are translated into all areas of manufacturing, including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Greenhouse Effect Gases (EFG).
Turning to the formulation side, the company also has a clear vision on its ingredient sourcing, which follows a strict set of principles that also take into account sustainability and the overall carbon footprint.
“Our main goal is to develop ingredients from the Brazilian socio-biodiversity, preferably from the Amazon region. We try to improve the sustainability of our ingredients, which are developed internally or by our suppliers.”
On this issue Alves points to two principle focuses, which firstly covers sourcing from communities that follow sustainable practices, for which the company lends its support with training. The second focus is to measure the carbon footprint for each individual ingredient and to select those with the lowest rating.
Making the sustainability process transparent
Natura has also taken significant steps to be accountable and transparent about the way in which it measures its carbon footprint, in an attempt to substantiate its claims and avoid the green washing trap that many companies in the sector often fall in to.
“Besides offsetting our emissions through support to socioenvironmental projects, we committed to reducing our relative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33 per cent between 2007 and 2011. By the end of 2010, we had reached a total reduction of 21 per cent, even with an increase in production. Given what we have learned over these past five years, we have deferred our achievement of this goal to 2013.
“Today, the carbon issue is an integral part of Natura’s strategy and influences the company’s decision making. We have adopted innovative initiatives and conducted an in-depth analysis of the impact of our processes so that our managers understand the contribution of each process to GHG emissions.”
The second part of this interview will be published on the Cosmetics Design websites next week, while Denise Alves will be a featured speaker at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit , to be held in New York, May 17 – 19.